Extraordinary Dominican Actor Carlos Espinal Takes Manhattan!
The brilliant actor and director Carlos Espinal has returned to New York City for his influential play, “Peter el Rojo, The Gorilla”, taking place at IATI Theater Studios (64 E. 4th Street, New York, NY 10003) on three different occasions: Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 8:00 pm as well as Sunday, April 24 at 3:00 pm.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Carlos about his insights in regards to his experience as an immigrant in the United States through the identity of a gorilla in this theatrical movement. The depth of the duality will force you to dive deeper into your imagination with his portrayal of a prejudiced society and the hard truth that those who are different find it challenging to gain acceptance. “Confession to an Academy” by Franz Kafka is an incredible story about a man who was once a gorilla, and through this story, Carlos Espinal’s talent wakes the true gorilla that lives in each of us and unmasks the hypocrisy and double standards that are all too present in this “land of opportunity”.
I was curious as to what influenced Carlos Espinal’s desire to portray this message of a prejudiced society in relation to those different from the mainstream. Carlos responded that he often wonders the reason why he identifies so much with Kafka’s work. He stated that he wasn’t aiming to pass along a message to society, nor does he think it’s his responsibility to attempt to teach moral values to an audience; however, he believes in the importance of making viewers feel emotions and forcing them to find their own messages as the protagonists of their life stories. From watching “Peter el Rojo, the Gorilla”, each person will find something different, which relates to him or her in a unique, individual light.
“It’s like when you see a painting that impresses you for the first time, mesmerized by the strokes, colors, and the story created by the painter. Each person will find something different, each person will see a different light, and each person will relate in a different way…”
“Peter el Rojo, The Gorilla” exemplifies a duality between man and the gorilla, and when I asked Carlos about his take on this duality, he explained that very few people dare to break the mold that’s already established by society. “…What I am sure of is that we all have a gorilla inside of us, because no one can escape from their true nature.”
For the premiere of his work, Espinal was awarded Best Production, Best Director, and Best Actor of 2013 by the prestigious “Sovereign” of the Dominican Republic. Carlos Espinal showcases his brilliance through his concepts and visions in regards to the duality of a man and a gorilla, as well as the complexity of being an outsider in a place run by the “mainstream”. Above all, his main focus is for the audience to have fun, be themselves, find their neighbors within the story, and identify the unfairness of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and cruelty that is all too relevant in our world.
Tickets cost $25 for Seniors and Students and $30 for general public. To purchase your ticket for this must see show, visit the IATI Theater website.